A major part of the job of a functional lead at Isos Technology is helping clients achieve their goals using Atlassian tools. Knowing how goals work is essential to both figuring out how clients got to where they are, and helping figure out how the tools will help them get where they want to go. Without being able to do this, it is very difficult to help clients get the most out of their tools.
This is one of the parts of the job I enjoy the most. Even before I was a functional lead, back when I was still a software architect, I was very interested in how goals functioned, both from a professional standpoint and a personal one. If you look at my bookshelf, it is a combination of books that focus on how to set and meet goals, and science fiction. Basically, if I pick up a non-fiction book, it’s going to either be centered around goals and metrics, or it’s going to apply to a goal that I am currently working on.
One of my favorite approaches to goal setting is the S.M.A.R.T. approach. Some of you may be familiar with this approach. For those of you who aren’t, S.M.A.R.T. in a nutshell, stands for:
- Specific - Goals should not be vague. You need to be specific about what you want to accomplish.
- Measurable - You need defined metrics for your goals.
- Achievable - The goal is something that you should be able to realistically accomplish.
- Relevant - The goal should align with other relevant goals.
- Time-bound - Goals should be timeboxed. They need a starting point and a finish line.
S.M.A.R.T. is a great tool to use for both professional goals. By forcing you to think about these five aspects, you are better able to identify which goals are worthwhile, and begin on the path to achieving them.
And that leads into the next obvious question: How do I start identifying my S.M.A.R.T. goals? What is my path to clarity? A good way to get started is to just pick up a pen and paper and start writing, breaking what you see your goals as.
A better way is to use a tool for breaking down your goals. But what tool to use? Let me suggest Confluence. Creating a new page for each goal is a great way to keep your goals organized. They will be easily searchable and you can see a historical record of your goals. Additionally, if the goals are visible to others, you have a better chance of achieving them. Why? Because this establishes accountability, which is a very effective motivator.
A normal approach to setting S.M.A.R.T. goals is to fill out a worksheet to break down your goals. You start with the initial, raw goal. Then you evaluate how the goal breaks down into each of the letters in the acronym. Laying out a worksheet is very easy to do in Confluence using sections and various Confluence macros.
Of course if you have a lot of goals you want to evaluate, you don’t want to have to repeat the layout each time. If only there were a way… like a template or something…
So with template in hand, you are ready to start breaking down your goals.
At the end of the day, a goal is only as good as the execution. So once you have your goals in Confluence what are your next steps? First, let others know about the goal. Remember what I said about accountability? Well add some watchers and put yourself out there. Next, start tracking your goal. In Confluence, add child pages to your goal page as you gather information needed to achieve the goal.
Also, use a tool to track your goal. Jira is great for this. Since you have already figured out the basics of your goal, including the timebox, you have a foundation for a Jira project and issues. And the benefit of Confluence integration will allow you to see where you are on the path to your goal using the jira macro.
Once you get these initial steps into place, you will be on the path to achieving your goals.